‘Zoodles’ (2020)


This week’s Kick-About was an exuberant and playful affair, in which the participating artists parked their usual conceptual ruminations and had some fun – and how could we not, given we had Norman Maclaren’s Boogie-Doodle as our inspiration?

During my time as a tutor on an undergraduate programme in animation, I spent a good part of my time wrestling with – and against – the constraints of the ‘3 act narrative structure’, as students sought to tell epic-sized stories in just under four minutes or so. Often – increasingly often – I yearned for more direct ways of expression and content-creation, pushing students to produce their ideas with greater immediacy, to just ‘get stuff out’ in the first instance, as opposed to wait for the various ‘theories of storytelling’ to offer something up. Boogie-Doodle delights because it ‘just exists’; it’s what play looks like, an expressive and exuberant risk.


Boogie Doodle, Norman Maclaren, 1941


I had a few ideas as to how I might approach the Kick-About #14. I considered created Boogie-Doodle-inspired soft-sculpture using this technique, then siting the sculptural elements on wire to set them wobbling about. Another idea was to produce a series of synesthetic speed paints in response to listening to jazz music, similar to the images produced for the animation, La création du monde, but then I realised I might have made some apposite work already.

I have a small leather notebook with thick creamy pages that is home to my daily ‘to-do’ lists, which is my very low tech way of trying to give some structure to these strange indistinct times of ours. This same book is also where I doodle absently when I’m on Zoom calls. Given the instinctive ‘straight-ahead’ method of animation on display in Norman Maclaren’s Boogie Doodle, I ultimately decided to liberate some of my own doodles from the various corners of my notebook and release them into the Kick-About for a runaround of their own. My personal favourite is the grumpy-looking blue ‘ball bird’; I think it likely this doodle left my pen on some drab Monday morning…





And, by way of an ending, here’s the wonderful Sarah Vaughan doodling too.


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